Bright Blessings of the Day to all of you!
What a great day! Time for little Tabitha and little Cornelius to go back to school!
What a horrid day. Time for little Tabitha and little Cornelius to go back to school!
Why? Because, for the Pagan family, this is the time of year that they prepare for the challenge of being the pagan child in the classroom. This is why pagan parents have taken up the chalk from the circle, and are using it on the black board to help supplement the education of their families.
No, religion should not matter, in theory. But in the temporal world in which we live, it does most certainly matter. For every year the child goes to a new teacher, a new interaction with a new teacher’s belief system is in play. And that belief system will have a very real, and direct, effect upon their judgements. Detroit is known as the City of Churches, among other things, and that does affect the teaching populations in the Metro Detroit area. Not a bad thing, just that sometimes, like in anything else, people are human.
We are not talking about the arbitrary circle a, and check b, side of things. This has to do with the subjective assessments of the child’s performance overall in the view of the teacher. So when our little pagan sun beams take that seat in the morning, wearing that pentacle necklace, the adventure of societal fairness in action has begun.
Now, this is not just about how the child is judged. This is also about how the student’s view on a topic will be received. What gaps in the story they might try to fill in from their pagan perspective. One example would have been when in my youth, many eons in, I pointed out that talking about Noah in class was fun, but what about the Sumerian version of the flood? Mind you, this was in public school class in Social Studies hour.
The teacher of course was defensive, stating that Bible was the authority. If I had continued to argue, I knew that I would be marked down. So, I sat down. Meanwhile, I was labeled a troublemaker and a heathen. Well, they were kinda right. I did my first spell at eight years old with a book from the local library. The librarian was pagan and was ever so helpful to assist the child hanging out in the Scott Cunningham section.
My child, the darling Dark Empress Brenna, had a poignant moment early on in her classroom outing, when it was “tell what your parents do” day, For a week after day, I could not fathom the glances, stares, and outright glares, I was getting from families and staff when I picked her up from latchkey. So I finally had to go through every class and find out what it could have been to change the climate. Sure enough, boom. My little one had announced in the assembly that her mommy worked in the costume shop, worked at Head Start, and taught Tarot. Three guesses how that last bit of intel went over.
My daughter has had friends lost by being pagan. She has gained relationships closer than family by being pagan. She has had teachers overly curious because of turns of phrase, and idioms, unique to our world that slip out in class. Sometimes this was of little note, and others led to harassment campaigns that could only be ended by a meeting. Even then, the ostracism continued. One way I have dealt with this, is to send this letter to the school during the year to give the teachers a heads up http://www.stuorg.iastate.edu/pagan/paganinyourclassroom.htm. It does help.
Throughout the year, we supplement her learning with myths, mysteries, and spiritual lessons that help to supplement what she is learning in the public schools. She studies art and artists. Music and vocabulary lessons are different, as S.J. Tucker and an alchemy term list are not the average homeschool subjects in our area, but they work for us. We have talks about what it means to be spiritually responsible, and the fact that she does not have to choose any Path until she is ready. Religious books are just that, books, wherein truths are found.
I have found others, of course, in the community, that wish to supplement their young one’s education with pagan lessons and schooling. Take your time, is what I always state. Do not try to make Cornelius into a little Agrippa. Let him be Cornelius age six, at age six. Read him bedtime stories and talk about the stars. Let him hear stories about them. Teach them they have vibrations and that there is music there. This lays the foundation for later lessons.
If the parent takes the time to teach, even a tiny bit, each day about what they believe, this is school. You are the first teacher. You teach them pride, fear, love, joy, and honor. If you are unable to be out, then teach them why this is so. And this will also force you to learn about yourself and face some of your own lessons. If your child wishes to be out, then support them. Just know that it is a hard road, but a real one. Check their homework from regular school, but always add a question of your own to test their understanding of the material. This exercises the mind so that it will be ready for the lessons you are teaching.
This is a good time of year, also, to make a plan to home school your child on a schedule that is workable and contains resources that you can afford. You do not have to set up a Harry Potter style academy in the garage. However, a modest section of books Tabitha’s room could be a good place to start. Local interfaith events, cultural festivals, and even music from a world perspective can be a good take off point. Reading The Hobbit, listening to Led Zeppelin, and later discussing Jimmy Page and Aleister Crowley in their teens, would be a really good example of thinking outside the box.
You create the paradigm. You find what it is you want to teach, and find a way that you are able and comfortable with teaching it. If arts and crafts are your forte, then make magical tools and projects that teach. If music is you, teach songs of your faith. If you cook, teach the seasonal foods and festivals that revolve around them. You are only limited by your drive and imagination. Even scouting can be pagan, check out http://www.spiralscouts.org/
There are many pagan homeschooling sites on the internet. Take advantage of them. Even Scholastic has a page where children can design and submit spells http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1711. Explore your options. Be there for your child. And most importantly, know the day will come when you will be learning from them…..that happens immediately. Take them to festivals. Feast with them. Teach them your ways, and build Traditions. This is what it means to pagan home school as a supplement.
Here is a list of resources to get you started:
Once your little one becomes eleven years old, it may be time to check this out : http://www.greyschool.com/.
If you find that your child is being bullied about matters of faith, be proactive and contact the Tempest Smith Foundation for help and information about your next steps http://tempestsmithfoundation.org/. This young lady's story touched off a movement here in Michigan.
There are literally so many groups that listing them would be a chore, but inbox me if you need more specific sources. These should get you off to a great start.
Blessed Be, and enjoy sleeping in after the school bus leaves.